Foster Parent

Things not to say…

Ok, the title should really be “Things not to Say to an Adoptive Mom.”
After a 3 1/2 year journey my husband and I were able to adopt our little girl out of the foster care system. These are some actually questions I have fielded.

1. You are so lucky you did not have to go through labor.
Ok, let me unpack this for a moment. No, I did not go into labor. I did not squeeze a small human out of a hole made to pass only liquid. No, I did not spend hours panting with my hands around my husband’s neck begging for an epidural. I did, however, spend 3 1/2 years going to court hearings, documenting milestones to report to her social worker, sitting in meeting after meeting. I watched as I had to send this child that I loved to a mandatory biological parent visit only to have the visit canceled for some reason and receive the child back in a puddle of tears and confusion. I watched helplessly as this child was forced by the courts to spend time with people she did not feel safe with. I would have taken labor over the heartbreak it was to see her go through this. So no I did not technically deliver this human but don’t assume I did not go through labor. My labor was a different kind.

2. What are her real parents like?
I am her real parent. I have a birth certificate with her name, my name, and my husbands’ name. In the eyes of the law, we are her parents. We are legally responsible for her and her actions. The correct term to use if you wish to inquire about her previous family would be the birth parent or biological parent. It is ok to inquire but please use the right label.

3. Does it bother you when she talks about her biological parents?
No, it does not bother me. We are very secure in our relationship as her family. She is free to have memories of her previous life. When she talks about her birth parents we encourage conversation. Some memories are happy and we rejoice that she has these. Some memories are scary for her and we help her process them.

4. Will you ever have your own kid?
See number 2! She is my own child! But also seeing I am looking at 50 full on in a few years the answer is no. I am not going to have any biological children. We are more than happy to be a family of 3. If God should see fit to bring another child across our path we would obey but for now, we are living in the moment with this joy we have!

5. It must be easy because she is older.
When she came into foster care she weighted 22 pounds just shy of 5 years old. Her first few months were filled with doctors appointments. Protocol in our state is every child receives counseling. That was once a week. She came to us eating only very few items. Food has always been a struggle. She is a small human with her own thoughts and ways of doing things put into a new family with different ways of doing things. Not better ways…just different. I would say the adjustment would be very similar to bringing a baby home from the hospital. There is a lot to learn about this little, living creature that you are now sharing space with. In turn, they have a lot to learn about you as well.  It is not easy…just different.

 

Not sure if you should ask?  Then don’t!

At least not in front of the child.  I welcome the chance to share our family story.  It is as unique as our kiddo is.  However, if the material is of a sensitive nature then please don’t’ ask it in front of my child.  Questions regarding the state and whereabouts of her biological parents would be a fine example.  Questions regarding any fears we may have.  Questions regarding any negative implications surrounding her biological family.  All off limits in front of her.  As her parents, we don’t want her to have any fear of her future or fear of bad things happening to her biological family.  Yes, she ended up in foster care for a reason but that will never sever the genetic bond she has with these people.  Please use caution so as to not add fuel to the fire.  No matter how many horrible things happen to a kid in foster care (let’s face it they don’t end up there because life is great) foster kids cannot be made to feel like they need to hate their biological connections.  It would be me asking you to hate your arm or your leg.  There is a connection.

So here is a small list.  I am sure as I navigate this road I will be able to add more to the list.  Are you a foster/adoptive parent with questions to share?  I would love to hear them! 

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25 Comments

  1. I can’t believe you have to actually mention what people shouldn’t say. I guess they maybe just don’t think or fully understand? #pocolo

    1. beachchairtracy

      I am so surprised by what people think they have a right to say. Crazy. Thanks for reading!

  2. Wow, just wow to what people ask. Thank you for setting this out so clearly- I am sure it will help others, too. #thesatsesh

  3. Karen Miller

    I think what you’ve said is Amazing and extremely informative to those people that don’t know any better in regards to the Foster care system as well as the definition of “family”. I am so proud of you and your husband taking this journey of faith to change your daughter’s life for the better. You’re a Superwoman!

    1. beachchairtracy

      We had a lot of people behind us, in front of us, beside us, supporting us along the way!

  4. Goodness I can’t believe people actually say this stuff – especially no. 1! That said people have said weird things to me over the years about having twins so I can believe anything of people really. I will keep this list in mind when talking to adoptive parents (but hope I wouldn’t be so insensitive anyway!) #thesatsesh xx

  5. Whatever ever happened to being tactful at least? Why do people not think before they speak? What you do for your child is wonderful. #bigpinklink

  6. Gosh, I’m always amazed at what people think they have the right to say when it’s nothing to do with them. I was with someone the other day who was very tall and she was telling me about all the comments she gets in the street from random people. Utterly ridiculous. #LGRTStumble
    Nat.x

  7. I really enjoyed reading this. I never cease to be amazed at how insensitive people can be in these matters, and how they can make crass observations, and ask sensitive questions in front of children. I thnk it is good thta you so obviously have processed your thought and motivations in adopting and are thus armed to meet these insensitive questions in a forthright and honest manner. #TriumphantTales

  8. How can people be so stupid?! I think I’d have one pat response to all the idiotic remarks and questions: “I’m sure you mean well, but I’m not even going to respond to that. Just think about it.”

    1. beachchairtracy

      I will keep that in mind! I am sure all parents get unsoliceted advice. Just a part of life.

  9. Oh.people can be so insensitive. The things they say to us, two moms, with girls. Bio-donor inquiries, how did it get in there… nuts! #bigpinklink xoxo

  10. This is so interesting – I don’t know anyone who has adopted but I do know that if I was to ask about birth parents I would use that label. I haven’t spoken to my biological mother in a long time and I have a wonderful step-mother who I consider my mum – I guess that experience has made me use the right labels. I’m so glad to read that you have such a great relationship with your daughter. xxx
    Thanks so much for linking to #pocolo

  11. MMT

    I loved that statement ‘I labored in a different way’. So poignant.
    Thanks for sharing an enlightening and moving glimpse into how to sensitively discuss adoption. You sound like a brilliant real mum 🙂
    x MMT
    Thanks for sharing with #coolmumclub

    1. beachchairtracy

      It has been a long journey but well worth it in the end!

  12. What a fabulous post. I have heard question 4 asked before and I HATE it. I am not an adoptive parent but I don’t doubt for a moment that adoptive parents are real parents. You explain your labour so well and it shows a level of strength from you and your partner that people clearly underestimate and obviously don’t understand. I wish you all the happiness for you and your family and I hope you can form some beautiful happy memories of your own that squash the scary ones for your daughter.
    Thank you for joining us at #BigPinkLink

    1. beachchairtracy

      I realized yesterday she has spent more time as part of our family than her bio family. The scales are tipping and we could not be happier. We will be by her side as she navigates this world!

  13. Some people don’t have a filter do they in all sorts of situations, can’t believe you’ve had to resort to writing them down but great awareness for people that may have been Wondering. ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬

  14. Mel

    For one, I can’t believe people are so sensitive. And another, to ask in front of your child. What is wrong with people?!?!? I didn’t have children to much later in life and everyone kept asking me about it. I was far too polite at the time but now just wish I had screamed out “because we are struggling too”, that would have killed the conversation dead. Hope things get better and people become more aware of their insensitivity. #FamilyFun

  15. I can’t believe posts like this need to be written – people actually say this stuff? Folk never cease to amaze me! Thank you for sharing it. Hopefully, it will help other adoptive parents when people read it and know what to not say! Thanks for joining in with #TriumphantTales, hope to see you back again tomorrow.

  16. Wow! These are definitely things not to say to an adoptive mom! #DreamTeam

  17. that’s almost unbelievable but as the mother to a disabled adult I’m often told that I can’t really relate to being her mum as I didn’t give birth to her, but like you, there are many battles to be fought other than giving birth. having my 3 sons was relatively stress free compared to fighting for custody with my husband for his 2 kids.

  18. not sure where I’ve popped over from to find your blog,

    1. beachchairtracy

      I get that way sometimes too! So many good sites lead to another!

  19. Oh my word, I can’t believe people actually ask you these questions! That’s shocking!! #coolmumclub

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